Intonational marking of new and given information in Cameroon English
Studies on English intonation have shown that native English speakers consistently accent new information and deaccent given information in the discourse structure (Brown 1983; Fowler and Housum 1987; etc.). On the other hand, findings on the intonation of some non-native English varieties, Nigerian English (Gut 2003, 2005) and Indian English (Gumperz 1982) for example, suggest that speakers of these varieties of English rarely deaccent given information in the discourse structure, hence making both types of information prominent. This study reports findings of the analyses of the intonational marking of the two types of information in Cameroon English (CamE). Data from two speaking styles, the Passage Reading Style (PRS) and the Conversational Style (CS), were analysed both auditorily and acoustically. Results show that, unlike speakers of some other non-native varieties of English, Cameroon English speakers make new information more prominent than given information in the discourse structure. As for how Cameroon English speakers acoustically implement the intonational marking of new and given information, the findings further reveal that they make more use of intensity and duration than of other acoustic parameters like high pitch accent (H*), findings which are somewhat dissimilar to those documented in native varieties of English whereby the most obvious acoustic correlate of new information in discourse is the high pitch accent (H*).
Keywords: intensity, given information, pitch height, duration, prominence, Cameroon English, new information, intonation
Published online: 11 May 2007
Cited by 4 other publications
OUAFEU, YVES TALLA SANDO
Ouafeu, Yves Talla Sando
Yap, Tsong Shiuan & Stefanie Pillai
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